All About Chemical Peels

A summary of the types of chemical peel treatments available today. This article shows the uses and disadvantages of these acid skin peels and procedures.

The ever increasing popularity of the beauty industry has brought facial rejuvination to the masses. From the surgical to non-surgical, many are opting to take years off their look using some tried and tested treatments. For those who are opting for a non-surgical boost to their complexions and reducing fine lines, chemical peels are a viable option.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is found in the bark of the willow tree and is used as a key ingredient in many of the skincare products around today. It increases the rate at which the cells of the epidermis shed, which in turn unclogs the pores and neutralises the bacteria inside. As it also restricts the pores it helps to prevent them from getting clogged again. The use of salicylic acid is becoming more common in anti-dandruff shampoos as a result of its natural effect on the skin.
Uses For Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid has proved useful in the treatment of:

Keratosis pilaris

Salicylic Acid Treatments And Products

Medicated treatment pads

Possible Side Effects

Some people can become sensitive to salicylic acid which can result in a number of side effects including stomach pain, fatigue, headaches, nausea and diarrhoea to name a few. If you are sensitive to asprin it is recommended that salicylic acid should be avoided as they both have similar compounds.

It is not advised to use salicylic acid during pregnancy as it can cause birth defects and complications.

Skin can be sensitive after salicylic acid products are used and sunscreen should be used to protects against ultra violet damage.

Glycolic Acid

This is a natural chemical derived from fruits which can be found in many skin care products. It is this natural chemical which helps kill propionbacterium, the bacteria which cause acne. Glycolic acid is also able to lighten skin pigmentation caused by sun damage and stimulate collagen in the skin helping to make lines and wrinkles less visible.
Uses For Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid has proved useful in the treatment of

Sun damage
Dry skin
Oily skin

Glycolic Acid Treatments And Products


Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

Alpha hydroxyl acids are derived from the sugars found in fruit and milk. They have been used as a skin rejuvenation treatment for centuries. These acids are used an effective exfoliant which can promote collagen growth. As a result as a result producing more even toned skin and a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles.
Possible Side Effects

Increased sun sensitivity
Excessive redness
Allergic reaction resulting in rash
Skin discolouration

TCA Peels

A TCA peel uses Trichloroacetic acid which may help to remove superficial blemishes. It removes dead skin cells and promotes the regeneration of new cells.
TCA uses

Reduces fine lines an wrinkles
Soothes the skin
Reduces scaring over time
Can be used as a long term treatment for severe acne
It has been used as an alternative to tattoo removal
Studies have shown its effectiveness in the removal and preventing of cancerous lesions.

Possible Side Effects

Redness and soreness (temporary)
Sun sensitivity
Milia- superficial white bumps which can be removed using correct ointments after peel
Scarring- rare but has been reported. Steroid injections can be used to treat post peel scars.
Herpes simplex infection- can be prevented by administering antiviral treatments 2 days prior to peel.

Jessners Solution

Jessners solution is a combination of Salicylic acid, Resorcinol, Lactic acid and ethanol. It is a superficial peel which is sometimes used before a deeper peel. This solution removes the top layers of the skin and promotes collagen production.

Balances irregular skin tone
Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Softens skin
Increases hydration
Acne treatment

Possible Side Effects

Increased sun sensitivity
Hyper pigmentation

It is always important to consult your dermatologist or physician prior to any chemical peel. They will be able to advise which peel, if any, is the most suitable for you and your skin. Although chemical peels can offer dramatic results it is important to remember the possible side effects and take recovery time into consideration.

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